Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My 2009 Beauty List

I was reading this month's Essence magazine, and it inspired me to do an post on my beauty products of 2009. I have been working at a beauty retailer for the past year and a half so I have been exposed to a lot of different products, and I have received a lot as gratis (free stuff!!). I am not saying that everything I will speak of is the BEST in the industry, as I have no statistics, but these products work well for me, and may be beneficial to you!

Let's start with skin care, as it is the foundation of beauty! I'll begin by saying I have slightly acne-prone skin, that is also very dry during the winter. My skin can also be sensitive, so I don't like to use a bagillion different steps in my skin care regimen. These are some of the favorite products of 2009, or rather the last six months!

*Exuviance is a great skin care line. It is very expensive though. I use the Antibacterial face wash b/c I have acne prone skin. However, I've been using Boscia Purifying face wash lately because it is a little less drying. Boscia is a natural, preservative free, skin care line, so I use it whenever possible. Both face washes remove make up well. I use DDF 5% Glycolic Acid face wash sporadically when I feel my skin is damaged. It's pretty strong, but the chemical exfoliant helps to smooth, tone, and de-wrinkle the skin.
*I use Earth Therapeutics anti-bacterial exfoliating pad while washing. Its help remove dead skin and any make up residue that doesn't come off when you just wash with your hands. Dermalogica's face brush also works well for exfoliating while washing.
*Moisturizers: Exuviance Evening Restorative Complex has AHA's and vitamins such as A & E. It moisturizes w/o the heavy or greasy feel. Murad Essential-C Daily Moisturizer has SPF 30 and gives good moisture. Mario Badescu protein night cream is good for REALLY dry or aged skin. I've been using it at night lately because my skin is so dry. It's has collagen & vitamin A.
*Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask is great for reviving the skin. It's tingles as it works at removing dull skin, adding moisture, and.
*Mario Badsecu drying lotion is a good spot treatment for acne breakouts.
*I always keep my Vitamin E oil on hand. I use anywhere that is dry or needs a boost!
*Almay has the best eye make up remover pads.

Now for the MAKE UP!! I love make up!! In the past, I was the type of girl who wouldn't wear much make up because I had great skin, and I felt like "why cake on make up everyday, and mess up my skin, when I don't even need it!" However, in recent years my skin has decided to breakout more often so I have acne scars, and also I work at a store that sells make up, so now make up is one of my BEST friends!! It's surprising how much a little make up can make you look so much better!!

*Pur Minerals foundation is my everyday best friend. Mineral foundation gives great coverage while allowing a natural look, and Pur is a good one to choose because it has great ingredients (15 SPF, Shea butter as the binder, etc.). Bare Minerals is also a good mineral foundation, but they don't have good colors for people of color (my opinion). It works best for people with fair to tan skin tones. On dark to deep tones, Bare Minerals can turn greyish and cake up on the skin.
*This Smashbox brush is the BEST feeling brush ever, and gives good coverage. It retails at $50, but I bought mine on eBay for $18.
*Sometimes I use the Bare Minerals Handy Buki brush.

*My Lorac eye & cheek palette makes for a great everyday look! I really only use the two middle shadows; the matte Burgundy on my crease, and the shimmery shadow above it on my brow bone.
*I LOVE Laura Mercier's bronzer!! It just gives my cheeks & nose a golden glow!
*Bare Minerals' new Flawless Definition Mascara is my everyday go-to lash enhancer.
It works well, but I love it because it is paraben free, and it's one of the few mascaras that is paraben free and easily attainable on the market.
*That is also a Bare Minerals flawless face brush. Though their brushes are expensive, they last forever.

These are some of my favorite FUN colors!
*Mac and Lorac have some of the best shadows for blending. Urban Decay also has really great shadows in terms of color choice and blending.
*Bare Minerals Prime Time eye shadow primer. Shadow primer is very important in eliminating creasing and rub off. Smashbox and Urban Decay also have great shadow primers!
*For those frugalistas on a budget, you must try NYX eye shadows. They have great colors!
*My electric blue mascara by Splash. It's about $5 and it shows up WAY better than any of the prestige line blue mascaras that I have tried!
*I love Too Faced and Urban Decay glitter liners. A little sparkle always adds to your night look!

Hair care is VERY important to me, and more so now because I'm growing my natural hair out as opposed to relaxing it, as I have done for years! It's truly been a journey, but I will have gone a year relaxer free on January 2! As you can imagine, my hair is tightly curled, so I blow it out straight once a week.

*I just started using Brut's Bees More Moisture Shampoo. I like it because it is sulfate free, and it adds great natural moisture!
*I use several conditioners. My favorite is Joico K-Pack. Joico is a great professional line, and the K-Pak line adds moisture and strengthens with keratin. This one in particular also really helps detangle, which I need!
*Because I have dry scalp, I use Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Hair & Scalp Treatment between washing and conditioning. Tea Tree is great for the scalp/skin, and it gives a great cooling feeling!
*Hair treatment: Prueology is the TOP of the line in hair care, and this strengthening protein treatment is great!
*I'm trying Biosilk Silk Infusion as my blow dry serum. It's makes my hair slick enough to get my round brush through it easily when blow drying. (Also try Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum & John Freida Frizz Ease)
*CHI 44 Iron guard is great for heat protection when flat ironing. I've tried cheaper brands, but I like this one because it doesn't leave the hair feeling as if it has product on it.
*Ojon is a GREAT line. The Hydrating Styling Cream is one of my favorite products. It can transform tour hair from dry and frizzy to shiny and bouncy. I put it on dry when my hair needs some attention, but the directions say to use it wet before blow drying.
*Kenra is also a great professional hair care line, and their Shine Spray is great! I like it because it's weightless, allowing my hair to stay bouncy!

Well that was my beauty bag favorites review for 2009. I'm sure 2010 will bring much more!
I will definitely be adding NARS and Make Up Forever to my make up collection.

Let me know what beauty products you couldn't live without in 2009. Your 2009 could be my 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New BOOK!!

Ha! Betcha thought I was gonna tell ya about a new book I'm reading!! Nope, this is more of a guilty pleasure, that I won't even feel guilty for because I'm not gonna buy it!! LOL, don't tell!

I came across these pics 4 free, so I'm sharing them with you!

This is John Galliano at his BEST. Photographer Roxanne Lowit, along with others, has been compiling these photos of Dior runway looks (backstage) for years at the O SO FABULOUS and legendary Christian Dior fashion shows!!!

1 word

Someone PLEASE do this to my face!

Freaky FUN!

I call this Marie Antoinette on ACID!

Oh, and I LOVE that they used diversity in this book!!
I mean who wants to see the same girl over and OVER.
Color, variety....I dig it!

The brow detail gives me everything!!


Looks like a geisha vampire to me! Love it!

This IS fashion defined!

African QUEEN!

IDK??? But I like it!

Native American Spirit... RESURRECTED!!


AHHHhhhh, I love Dior so much more now!!
If you want to see more you can buy the book for $75 on Amazon. It's called Backstage Dior!
Thank you Roxanne for the WONDERFUL experience ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What's Really Going On Here??!


Ok, so this image was in the December issue of Vogue (you know, the FASHION magazine)! I'm just a little lost here! I'm not seeing much fashion. I guess the hunched shoulders look is getting a little old for models, and they are trying to create new posing techniques. LOL! This is just not it though! The model, Daria Werbowy, looks as if she cleansing herself in an O SO inappropriate way! And the guy behind her looks as if he's on a mission. What mission....IDK!!

Fashion can be SO funny sometimes!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Random RANT!!

Youtube SUCKS!!

I decided to take some time to read some of the blogs I follow today. Of course, most posts have some sort of live video...mainly youtube. GOSH, what is with all the stalling?? I mean, it's 2009, almost 2010! Why hasn't youtube perfected its systems to make video viewing more efficient? They need a better IT team! It shouldn't take 5 minutes to watch half of a 2:24 min. spot!! I'm very annoyed, technology really irks me sometimes.

On another note, I am very hurt to announce (if you don't already know) that actress Brittany Murphy died today of cardiac arrest at the YOUNG age of 32. Very sad. I feel emotionally connected, and I don't know why. I did really like her as an actress tho :(

Today is dedicated to her. If you haven't seen Uptown Girls, starring Brittany & Dakota Fanning....GO RENT IT! That is how I will remember her. Bright, bubbly, a little out of it, but someone you would want to get to know!

Another 1 lost in 2009....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is Steve Madden a Thief?

Turns out that Steve Madden's fashion forward designs aren't always original. The brand has been sued a SECOND time recently for copying designer shoes. That's just not right...LOL Can you tell the the original from the "alleged" copy??

I remember seeing these shoes in a magazine when they came out. Doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but these are the Balenciaga 'Lego' shoes from 2007.
On the left is Steve Madden ($99.95); right is Balenciaga ($4175).


I remember wanting these shoes SO bad back when I saw them in that magazine. BUT....I knew I would never be able 2 afford them! The Steve Madden version isn't as cute when you put them side by side, but if I would have known of them in 07, I would have considered purchasing them!! NO LIE. Gotta get the look w/o breaking the bank!! But now I'm glad I didn't know. In retrospect, Steve Madden probably hurt Balenciaga's sales. Maybe...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Uh Oh, No More FAUX!!!


So, as you may know, the counterfeit industry heavily effects, not only the fashion and apparel industry, but our GDP/GNP (gross domestic/national product). I'm getting technical because I wrote a 15+ page paper on counterfeiting when I was in college. As I pull out the ol' flash drive, I'll give you some facts via 2007, LOL!
  • “Recent research show that a third of Americans admit to having bought counterfeit goods- most knowingly. We do it because fakes are a bargain” –Nick Higham
  • Average consumers are unaware that counterfeiting is linked to organized crime, and child labor.
  • US businesses lose $250 billion dollars each year due to counterfeiting.
  • “About 6 percent of world trade is counterfeit, and roughly 14 percent of the fake goods are sold online” –Cate Corcoran
  • “This is a major growth industry." The increasing criminal attraction is natural considering the relatively low costs for entering the market and for manufacturing goods. Profits are high, and getting caught carries far fewer penalties than most criminal activities,” says Raymond Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner.
  • Counterfeit apparel and accessory sales have been linked to terrorist groups like al Quaeda, Hamas, and Hezobollah.
  • “Counterfeiters do not pay their employees fair wages or benefits, have poor working conditions, and often use forced child labor”-IACC

OK ok, I didn't mean to bombard you with boring facts, but I'm kinda a nerd like that, and this subject is of interest to me!!

On to the point--->>On Tuesday morning, the NYPD raided a strip of 31 stores on the south end of Canal Street in NYC. The stores were searched, and all 'alleged' counterfeit merchandise was removed. The stores were allowed to re-open shortly after.

For those who haven't had the opportunity to visit, Canal St. is THE place to go for all counterfeit, fake, and probably even stolen merchandise. Mainly fashion goods like designer purses, shoes, clothes, jewelry, and fragrances. Now, everything isn't fake or stolen. You can also get good bargains on things like pashmina scarves, sunglasses, jewelry etc.

I remember my 1st experience on Canal St. this past September. It was quite thrilling!! I had been eagerly waiting to go, mainly to experience what everyone was talking about, but also to find a bargain! I don't condone any illegal activity, counterfeiting being a part of that. However, the excitement of finding something cheap and unique was my motivation. It's interesting to see the culture and ALL the people. It can be quite annoying though, walking down Canal, because of the "sellers." I'm referring to the people who probably just got busted!! There are at least 10 on every block, and they bug you! "Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel," they repeat. The funny thing is that they can hardly speak English, but they can say Chanel!! They hold crummy looking cards with the pictures of all the counterfeit bags they have. IF you show interest, they take you around the corner and up an alley somewhere to show you the merchandise in private. Always looking out for the POLICE!!

My friend wanted some Gucci shoes, so were we taken into the back of a store and shown a variety of shoes. They were official. I suppose stolen, but if not, they were really good quality counterfeit! IDK. They were selling them for $90, and she haggled them down to $50, and THEN decided not to get them!

I think everyone should make a trip to Canal St. for the the experience if nothing else. Hurry up though, it might not be the same much longer! LOL, but honestly, I don't think counterfeiting or Canal St.'s business is going anywhere, anytime soon... Not until our country passes stricter laws for the crime.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Magazine Covers just ain't the same...

I've been doing a little reading lately.

Stumbled across this article on George Lois' views on modern-day magazines. Lois is a legendary designer, who was the visionary behind many of Esquire Magazine's iconic covers in the 60 &70's. 38 of his covers are in MoMA (Museum of Modern Art).

He basically believes that today's magazines have lost there uniqueness. That they are less focused on the art, and more on selling the issue by putting a celebrity on the cover. He thinks magazines should have more 'white space,' and less headlines on the covers. His words below.

“Why do you put all those cover lines on? They say, ‘Well, if I don’t get somebody interested in this one, I’ll get somebody interested in that one.’"

“They say, ‘People buy magazines to read, for information.’ Well, you buy a magazine not only for that but so you can have exciting visual experiences. They try to jam words and pictures on every square-inch of the page like they’re working on a Web site."

“Look at Vogue. Oh my God. Vogue and Harper’s once were very well designed magazines. I mean they were exciting to look at. You could not give a shit about fashion and be excited by the whole look of the magazine. You look at Vogue now: it’s not even designed. What a difference. You pick up a Vogue back in the days of [Condé Nast’s Alexander] Lieberman and those guys, and you look at it now, and it’s a disgrace."

This man is THE TRUTH. Look at his covers compared to today's covers.

Open 'white space' allows the viewer to take in the meaning/message portrayed on the cover.
Today's covers are cluttered with headlines and feature celebrities to draw attention.

I will go on to say that a lot has changed in the publishing industry since Lois' time.

Print media in general is struggling because today's technologically-advanced society is gravitating towards the Internet for literally everything. Editors MUST plaster headlines on the cover to grab the viewers attention. They want to bring the reader in, and cause impulse purchases at the newsstand. I bought a Cosmo issue, once,because the cover talked about dealing with men, and I was interested. I would not have bought a magazine at all had that issue not grabbed my attention. I was just standing in line at Walmart...ready to go!

Sidebar: I have been meaning to buy the Glamour issue above featuring Michelle Obama...mainly because she is so gorgeously gracing the cover.
I work at a store that runs a promotion with Instyle magazine. Taylor Swift is on the December issue, and Taylor Swift sells that issue. On many occasion, I've seen a mother-daughter duo say "Oh, is that Taylor on the cover?!!" Young girls light up when they see it. Grown women do too.
Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue magazine (for SO many year), spoke in the movie, The September Issue, of how she reacted to societal trends by using celebrities as cover models. She was ahead of the curve, and luckily so. American society is heavily rooted in the idea of celebrity lifestyle. No matter how much most of us hate to admit it, we want to live like a celebrity, we want to dress like a celebrity, we would love to be a celebrity (in general!). CELEBS SELL MAGAZINES, and that's just how it is.

I would love to be able to enjoy the artistry and design that magazines once offered, but we must move with the times. The only thing that really matters is the bottom line. Money talks, so I guess the 'white space' must walk!

You can view the article mentioned above here:http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2009/12/legendary_designer_george_lois.html#ixzz0Z5DV2xbd

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What's going on in my world...

Hello Blogger friends!

So I went to this great event last night. The Red Pump/Red Tie Affair. It was a benefit for the Red Pump Project, which is an initiative focused on AIDS/HIV awareness in women and girls. The event encompassed live music, fashion, art, food, drinks, and NETWORKING!!! I'm still pumped up! Every time I have a good networking experience I leave motivated with a stronger passion to succeed!

I wrote an article about it. Please visit the link below and leave a comment, and subscribe!! It's free and easy. Just helps me out!!


Well, I think I'm getting better at this article writing thing. I'll be honest I wasn't that happy with my 1st article. It was decent, but I was completely unaware of how difficult it was to write an article. In college I was always complimented by my teachers on my writing. I guess because it was research papers, and other writing projects, it was different. Article writing is a lot different.


I'm progressing day by day!

Peace Out...lol

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Get the Look

In response to a previous post on Dita Von Teese's amazing personal style, I wanted to give you some ideas on achieving her look!

I encountered a lot of great brands when I went to the MAGIC tradeshow earlier this summer in Vegas. There were two that I found very unique, and quite fitting of that old Hollywood glamorous look that Dita embodies.

Queen of Heartz
This is a company that designs and manufactures vintage inspired apparel. This is a GREAT idea. I did a post on vintage shopping a while ago (http://rareindulgence.blogspot.com/2009/07/vintage.html). It can be great, however it can be difficult to find what you want. Queen of Heartz gives you the luxury of vintage designs in brand NEW pieces. You don't have to worry about cleanliness or wear & tear! Designs below.

Bettie Page
Very similar concept. Vintage inspired clothing. Bettie Page's looks, however, can read a little 'costumy'. They can be a little too literal. Some of the looks remind me of a chic Halloween costume. Others are very sophisticated! If you are looking for a pin-up or old Hollywood look---->>>Bettie Page is the brand for you! Designs below.

Left=costumy, but cute. Right= more wearable vintage look (my opinion)

Cute but costumy again!!

She is serving it on the right! Go girl!!

I would definitely wear the look in the left.

Oh, and they sell t-shirts too!
Pretty Rockin'!!

Both brands give off that 'Dita' vibe. Very cool!

P.S. Average cost per dress = $150
Separates were in the $70's